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Jae Kim

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Jae Kim: Theory and Practice
JK20: What do you Want?

April 6, 2010

In recent times, the beautiful game of Yu-Gi-Oh! monsters seems to have evolved. You can see in the number of different regional tournament results that deck diversity and the pace of the game have improved dramatically over the Dark Strike Fighter OTK days.


Since my writing exists only to serve you readers, I want to spend this article talking about what *you* want from your deck.


Classifying Card Groups


I think you can group a single Yu-Gi-Oh! duel into one of two groups. There are open games and closed games (feel free to substitute different terminology).


Open games refer to situations where fields are not fully developed. Monsters hit the field, monsters leave the field, and resources are exchanged at a relatively fast pace.  Examples of cards that promote open games are:


Smashing Ground (1 for 1 removal)

Dust Tornado (1 for 1 removal)

Bottomless Trap Hole (1 for 1 removal)


Closed games refer to situations where players are passing and building resources in hand. There are a number of cards that promote these closed strategies (we will discuss them in more detail later). Brief examples include:


Morphing Jar (hand reset)

Scapegoat (the classic closed-game card)

Starlight Road (another closed-game staple)

Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive (replaces itself)

Scrap-Iron Scarecrow


Cliched but True


It may sound like a cliche, but the best decks are versatile and capable of playing both a closed and open game state. This is not completely true for all top tier deck types though.


I urge you to really look into what you see to obtain from a deck strategy. A lot of this choice depends on your personal playstyle. As a player, I generally much prefer closed-game states. I feel I have strengths at being able to process complex scenarios, a trait that gives me an edge when we each have more cards to spend.


You may disagree. You may prefer forcing a faster, or even break-neck, pace with the same deck-type! Let's talk about the ways that different decks can manipulate their opponent into playing the preferred pace.


Closed Game Strategies:


Decks that focus on continuous Spells or Traps would obviously prefer a closed-game strategy. After all, such continuous effects require monsters to function. And in a duel where both of you are top-decking, your advantage may not even take shape!


Open Game Strategies:


Decks with lots of floaters (cards that replace themselves) will generally prefer an open strategy. That's the reason you see decks like Gadgets constantly using one for one removal to simplify the game. At that point, the self-replacing resources take over and nibble for small amounts of damage repeatedly.


Variable Strategies:



Blackwings do not have to necessarily play a forced style of aggression. The difference depends on what your strategy includes:


Blizzard-based strategy: This BW variant bases itself off an ability to play multiple copies of Blizzard (which turn into level 6 Synchros). A copy or two of Dark Eruption may be included.


This deck type can either force card exchanges to simply the board or play a slower game to ensure a one turn explosion in a crucial game-sealing turn. Cards that ensure or benefit a closed-game include Scapegoat, Morphing Jar, and Gold Sarcophagus.


Cards that force a faster pace include Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Dust Tornado, and Icarus Attack.


Continuous-Trap Strategy: This BW variant uses multiple copies of either Royal Oppression or Skill Drain. In general, the deck favors a slower game where the continuous trap can extend its hold over the field. Cards that can help promote this include Starlight Road, Scapegoat, and heavy use of defensive traps.


Gladiator Beasts-


I personally feel GB players are getting too stuck to one type of strategy. Many players are running multiple copies of Trap Stun (a card that favors closed strategies) without even using the key parts of that strategy!


Explosive Gladiators: This variant should base itself off explosive strategies that generate quick Gyzarus plays. When the game is closed off, a combo such as Prisma into Gyzarus, backed up by a Trap Stun, should easily swing the game.


Focus on using a Cold Wave or Trap Stun type of disabler with either Rescue Cat or Prisma. Then, break backs.


Simplified Gladiators: This is the variant I prefer. Gladiator Beasts should use numerous defensive trap cards and spell/trap removal to force simplification of the game. At that point, you can play tactically and focus on setting up Equeste effects for card advantage.


Good cards for this strategy include Trap Dustshoot, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Dimensional Prison, and other one for one cards.


Closing Thoughts


Do please remember, always keep in mind what you hope to accomplish with your deck. Creating a deck composed of different elements that don't fit together is a recipe for inefficient deck-building.


In most cases, you are far better served creating a central idea of what you want from the deck and the best way to accomplish those goals. Examples of this thought process:


You are playing a Machina variant. The advantage of your deck is the ability to generate card advantage through your Machina Gearframe and the different Gadget monsters. So don't consider using

counter-productive cards like spell/trap removal. Remember, you want your opponent to burn monster removal on your floating monsters!


You are playing an effective Dragon-based deck that focuses on draw power and explosive one turn kills. Yet you decide to inexplicably include copies of Exploder Dragon, a Dragon "subtype" that is automatically on-theme, right? Wrong! Remember, the point of your deck is to swarm the board with powerful monsters that remove monsters by themselves. Why in the world would you include monster removal in a deck that brings out 2800's for free? Focus on either closing the game until you can draw parts of your combos, or focus on clearing spell and trap cards.


When you build your decks, focus on each individual card. Try to classify it as either a closed or open tool of promotion. And life's short; so if the card does not fit what *you* want, cut it.


If you enjoyed this article and hope to read more, please visit my strategy blog:






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